- Written by Michael Jude Galvin
- Published on 17 May 2012
The Synergistic Research Tesla Series AC Power Conditioner and Power Cables In Use
It took less than a minute for me to realize my system had been completely transformed. Fifty-one seconds into "60 Feet Tall," track one on The Dead Weather's debut album, Horehound, Jack White's bass drum simply overtook the room and my mouth dropped open. The song just exploded into a kaleidoscope of detail and pushed into every corner of the room as if I was listening to surround sound. It was startling. I backed up to the beginning of the track and noticed that before any of this build, a guitar in the background sounds like it's being given a final tune just before the drumsticks crack together. Alison Mosshart (of The Kills) shouts "You got my attention. You got it all. I can take the trouble. I'm sixty feet tall." There is an urgency and presence to this record I have simply never experienced, yes, experienced, not "heard." That is the distinction I'm making. All of a sudden the speakers and the electronics seem unchained and the guitar notes free to claw at the walls and ceiling of my room. The bass is enormous and shockingly propulsive. My system feels alive in a way I've never heard before. While the Focals and the Naim have shown signs of greatness on several past occasions, they have never taken my breath away in a sustained manner quite like this.
Switching gears to the Cat Power album Moon Pix reveals that the Synergistic makes good on its claim the Tesla series is quiet. How quiet? Quiet enough to let you marvel at the beauty of a single guitar and a female voice stripped of everything but the breath wrapped around it. In "Metal Heart," she sings "How selfish of you to believe in the meaning of all the bad dreaming" and I feel my mood actually transformed by these 14 words. This is the elemental, communicative power of music and Synergistic has cleared away enough of the impurities to let the system reveal it. I listened to three other Cat Power records and it was emotionally exhausting. Here was music, more than just conveying emotion, but like a book, creating it in front of me. Even on compressed material such as Sleigh Bells "Ring Ring" (174KB MP3, available for download at stereogum.com), the Tesla series reveals tonal shadings of the bass that are quite remarkable. Absent the Tesla components, the song lacks, among other things, the information conveyed by the pace of how the lyrics are sung. Alexis Krauss sings "Have a heart, have a heart, have a heart" and then continues "sixteen six six six like the pentagon." The latter phrase is sung in a different cadence and while this would be quite obvious hearing it through any system, the Tesla series allows my system to punctuate this transition, suggesting artistic intent I had not heard it before. I proceeded to listen to the song several times trying to figure out what exactly these lyrics in this pacing meant and while I did not come to any satisfying conclusion, the Tesla series presented the question and more importantly, invited my interaction.
As truly revelatory as the Tesla series was with music, it also made watching both movies and television much more enjoyable. The articulation and clarity of voices through the speakers was like having a center channel. I was able to listen at much lower volume levels than I was used to. The secondary effect of lower volume levels was my discovery that the JL Audio F112 is capable of some astoundingly delicate, presence-enhancing contributions to run-of-the-mill television programming.